National Trust faces backlash for linking Churchill's home to slavery

National Trust faces backlash for linking Winston Churchill’s home to slavery and colonialism

  • Oliver Dowden said National Trust’s view of Winston Churchill was a surprise
  • He called on the Trust to focus its efforts on ‘preserving and protecting’ heritage
  • The Trust had published an audit that claimed 93 properties had slavery links 

The National Trust’s decision to link Sir Winston Churchill’s home to slavery and colonialism was heavily criticised by the Culture Secretary yesterday.

Oliver Dowden said the charity’s portrayal of the war-time leader in its audit of its historic properties would ‘surprise and disappoint people’.

He called on the Trust to focus its efforts on ‘preserving and protecting’ our heritage.

Mr Dowden told the Daily Telegraph: ‘Churchill is one of Britain’s greatest heroes. He rallied the free world to defeat fascism. It will surprise and disappoint people that the National Trust appears to be making him a subject of criticism and controversy.’

Oliver Dowden (pictured on September 21) said the National Trust’s portrayal of the Winston Churchill in its audit of its historic properties would ‘surprise and disappoint people’

The Trust had published an audit that claimed 93 of its properties – including the former homes of author Rudyard Kipling and historian Thomas Carlyle – were linked to slavery or colonialism.

Its entry on Chartwell, Churchill’s family home in Kent, noted that the politician was Colonies Secretary in the 1920s and had opposed independence for India.

But the Trust’s actions have prompted threats to cancel membership subscriptions and even boycott the charity over claims it has become too politicised.

The statue of Sir Winston Churchill in Parliament Square was vandalised with yellow graffiti saying ‘is a racist’ as Extinction Rebellion protest took place on September 10

Senior Tory MP Guy Opperman said it risked ‘legitimising’ attacks on Churchill’s statue in Parliament Square, which has been daubed with graffiti during recent protests. 

He added: ‘This is manifestly wrong and not part of its mission statement or what it was created to do. My hope would be that the National Trust realises that the direction of travel is clearly wrong.’

Historian Andrew Roberts, one of Churchill’s biographers, said the ‘blacklist’ of properties was ‘sad and wrong’. He attacked the charity’s ‘latest excursion into wokery’.

A National Trust spokesman said: ‘The report does not make judgments about people or the places in our care but makes clear the deep and wide-ranging connections of colonialism and historic slavery across the centuries at our houses.’

How dare they link Wordsworth to slavery because of his brother. 

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